Friends of ours invited the four of us to join them for March Break in the Bahamas. Yeah, that didn't happen.
Instead, I am here to regale you with the exciting tales of our long-distance voyage to Toronto, Ontario! Woo hoo, you may be thinking. From where we live, Toronto is only a commute away, and could easily be a day trip. For us, however, it was a chance to get out of the house and away from chores, school work and laptops to enjoy our girls and get some R and R. Sort of.
Afterwards, we took the elevator as high as the observation deck. It's worth noting that the CN Tower is a fairly expensive tourist attraction, and we went more for the grownups' sake than the kids', as we hadn't been since elementary school. Our girls were too young to really 'get it', though Frannie was interested in looking down at all of the buildings, and enjoyed playing on the glass floor. (I'm sure my mother is cringing as she reads this. It's safe, Mom, or they wouldn't let people up there!) We came away with a cute ($20) family photo, taken in front of a green screen before we boarded the elevator, with the Toronto skyline added in by the time we got back down. Unfortunately, when we arrived back at the van we realized that our parking spot wasn't such a miracle. There was a $40 ticket waiting on our windshield...apparently we missed some no-parking sign (that the other 6 cars along the street must have overlooked as well).
We took advantage of being tourists and went to this really unique restaurant for lunch -- a little chicken joint called Swiss Chalet. Don't be concerned that you've never heard of it; not everyone can be as well-travelled as we are. It seemed pretty busy, so I wouldn't be surprised if it becomes a franchise. Great kids' meals, complete with toy and dessert.
After that we headed to our hotel, and I am no longer being sarcastic when I say you probably haven't heard of it. I hadn't, and couldn't find anyone who had, but it popped up when I googled "Toronto hotel March Break kids"...and what a find! We stayed at the Toronto Don Valley Hotel and Suites, which was about a 15 minute drive from downtown, and was an incredible deal. We booked a special March Break package, and when we checked in, the girls each received a gift bag with a colouring book, crayons, play-doh set and card game.
Our two-night special came to only $159.00 before taxes, which is an extremely good deal for two nights with breakfast, kids' surprises, and a movie. The only negatives that come to mind about the hotel are that parking was an additional cost of $12 per night (I had assumed it was included) and our GPS had issues recognizing the location. Although we met a few nice guests and Frannie made a couple of new friends, the hotel was surprisingly quiet.
We didn't just hang out at the hotel - we wanted to explore the city some more, and I had heard great things about the Fairview Mall, so our first night we headed there to eat at Moxie's Grill (a great feels-grownup-but-kids-love-it kind of joint) and then we hit Payless. A necessary stop, as we had packed only clunky winter boots for our little angels, and with beautiful 17 degree weather and a lot of walking ahead, we figured it was time to purchase some spring footwear.
Wednesday night we met my parents at Tucker's Marketplace. We LOVE this restaurant for its huge buffet and amazing selection. The adult dinners were $18, and kids were charged a dollar per year of age, which seemed very fair to me. Then we returned to the hotel for one last dip in the pool, and to get packed up and ready to head home in the morning.
Guess what? The chores, school work, and laptops were still waiting patiently where we had left them.
P.S. If anyone has other see-Toronto-with-the-kids suggestions, please leave a comment. I'm always open to new ideas!